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Previous Outstanding Student Awards

2018 Rehabilitation Counseling Outstanding Student
Kahadda Poston

Kahadda Poston

What does it mean to you to receive the outstanding student award?

Receiving the outstanding student award means my perseverance paid off.  It is truly an honor to be recognized by professionals I aspire to be like.

Why I want to give back to the Rehabilitation Counseling profession.

During my educational and professional journey, I had two rehabilitation counselors who mentored me.  They inspired me to pursue my master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.  Being a person with a disability, I feel it is imperative that I assist others in overcoming obstacles just as I was supported in doing so.  Even now, there is so much that can be accomplished in assisting the public to understand that people with disabilities are capable of exceeding general expectations in the workforce, when given an opportunity.  I feel it is my obligation to be an advocate for individuals with disabilities and encourage them as I have been encouraged.

My thoughts on my academic program.

I feel the program was good in that it provided me with the opportunity to experience internships and gain practical knowledge, which I apply in my occupation. The mentorship I received during the program from Dr. Robertson and Dr. Yalamanchili was exceptional.  Their leadership assisted me in gaining employment with the federal government after graduation.  I encourage anyone who has a compassion for people, a drive to succeed, and a desire to advocate for others to become involved in the CSUSB Rehabilitation Counseling master’s degree program.

2017 Rehabilitation Counseling Outstanding Student

Geneva Marshall

What does it mean to you to receive the outstanding student award?

Receiving the outstanding student award is an honor. I understand it as a testament to the dedication and hard work I put into the program. Being successful in the Rehabilitation Counseling program was of the utmost importance to me. I wanted to explore the field but at the same time get as much knowledge as I could within the three years I attended. Although I worked hard, the professors with whom I had the pleasure of taking classes and the cohort with whom I took classes quarterly contributed a great deal to my success in the program.

Why I want to give back to the Rehabilitation Counseling profession. 

Rehabilitation Counseling is a small but very important field. Working with people with disabilities was a passion I developed later in my life, but it is absolutely the path that I was meant to take. I could never have imagined the way my life would change the moment I began working with people with disabilities. I became much more cognizant of the world around me and how “everyday activities” can differ from one person to the other. I absolutely love my career and the work I do.

My thoughts on my academic program.

This program and field are unique and are completely necessary in our lives. The program sets you up with the knowledge and practical application to be prepared to work in the field. I had many different experiences throughout the program, and I learned so many things that I apply every day in my career. I was able to pass the CRC the first time around, which speaks to the quality of our program. I encourage anyone to apply to our program who wants to work with people in almost any setting. Rehabilitation Counseling is a versatile and developing field, and countless exciting possibilities exist within it.

2015 Rehabilitation Counseling Outstanding Student

Gabe Rios

What does it mean to receive the outstanding student award?

I was honored to have received this award. It made me realize that all the hard work, countless hours of studying, internship and fieldwork hours, and sacrificing of time with family was all worth it. Receiving the award also showed my professors, colleagues, family, friends and myself that with the right skills, tools, support and services I am just as smart and productive as anybody else in the room. Most importantly, the award has motivated and inspired me to consider a doctoral degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. 

Why do I want to give back to the Rehabilitation Counseling Program? 

When I first walked into the Department of Rehabilitation five years ago, I was a complete mess physically, mentally and emotionally. The reason….. I was 34 years old when I completely lost my ability to hear sound in both ears. As many people can imagine, it was very disheartening. My rehabilitation counselor saw past all my faults and saw the potential deep down inside me that I could not see for myself. We came up with a plan and I attacked it head on at full speed. That man changed my life forever. He believed in me, supported my decisions, encouraged me, motivated me, and most importantly gave me hope.

It is now my turn to give back to the profession that changed my life and made me believe in myself again. I want to help other people in similar situations. I want to share my experiences with others. I want people with disabilities to understand they do not have to settle. I want to help guide them through the process that I have traveled. Most importantly, I want to share with them that anything is possible with the right support, skills and attitude.

Thoughts on the program?

The faculty and staff in the Rehabilitation Counseling program really made me feel welcome at CSUSB. From the first time meeting with Dr. Turpin at the Coffee Bean to the last day seeing Dr. McReynolds at our graduation ceremony, never once did the faculty or staff treat me differently because of my disability. The program never gave me any special privileges simply because I was Deaf. That may not seem like much; however, to me it meant the world. The program made me feel “normal” again, as if I never lost my hearing. 

Not everyone who goes through the Rehabilitation Counseling program leaves with the same experience. We are all taught the same material, but not all students apply what they have learned the same way. When I started my fieldwork and practicum hours, I was nervous as can be. However, once I got started with my counseling sessions and fieldwork everything started coming together. It made me realize and understand what the professors where teaching us all along. The way the program is set up really helps prepare students and gets us ready for the real world.